Getting stuff done and generally being productive requires the mind to stay focussed on singular tasks until they are complete.
Sounds fairly straightforward, right? And yet this is where most people fall down, including you.
You get distracted
You’re easily distracted. You look away from what you’re doing. Perhaps you open up another browser window to check Facebook. Or maybe you look outside through an actual window and just stare.
It doesn’t really matter what is causing the distraction. What matters is that the mind is up for being distracted. It doesn’t have the staying power for the task as hand. It wavers.
One minute you’re doing the task, the next minute your attention wanders and you’re checking email or your phone. Then your attention goes back to the task again.
It’s like having the shakes; your hands are shaking so much that you struggle to pick up a pen let alone use it.
This is basically what’s happening to your mind.
It flits between one place and another and it doesn’t stop. It just keeps flitting one way then the other, then back again. Sometimes the flitting shows up externally – you check your phone or look out the window – but mostly it doesn’t.
Your productivity suffers
This constant shift in focus means that it struggles to move forward with The Thing it’s actually trying to do and so your productivity suffers.
When a mind has strength and resilience it’s much easier to stay with the task at hand until it’s complete. And it rarely gets distracted. We have all seen people like this. Things are kicking off all around them and despite it all, they remain absorbed in the thing they’re doing.
You see, it’s not about The Distraction per se. It’s about the mind and these two things specifically;
- Is it OPEN to being distracted?
- Can it WITHSTAND distractions?
But building mental strength and resilience isn’t something you can do overnight. Just like improving your body fitness, it takes consistent effort over a period of time. How long depends on where your starting point is and how much time and effort you invest in the transformation.
So in the meantime what can you do?
What can you do to avoid being distracted?
Specifically so that you can can get stuff done and generally be more productive.
The good news is that the answer is quicker to achieve than you might think.
This was something a business client came to me with recently. She told me that she was struggling to get stuff done and that she was getting distracted too easily.
At the time, my client was in lockdown. Like many working parents she was working from home and homeschooling (two kids under five!). She’s a CEO with 15 people working for her so already has plenty on her plate without the additional challenge of homeschooling two toddlers.
Lockdown was massively adding to her usual distractions and she told me that she was struggling to get stuff done. I think we can all relate to that!
So we used Head Trash Clearance to clear:
- Getting stuff done
- Distractions and being distracted
You might think it strange for us to clear getting stuff done, but there are two reasons why we did that;
- It’s an important part of the clearance process. Head Trash Clearance involves working with opposites, and for my client the opposite of ‘being distracted’ was ‘getting stuff done’.
- It was the outcome that my client wanted. We often have resistance or blocks around our desires and goals, so it’s always worth doing a clearance around the things you want to achieve. In this situation her desired outcome just happened to be the opposite of the thing she was struggling with so that made things nice and neat! if it wasn’t the opposite then I would have asked two questions:
What’s the opposite of ‘being distracted’?
A good way to ask yourself that is “If you’re not being distracted, you’re what…?”. The answer to this might have been ‘being focussed’ for example.
What’s the outcome you desire?
This will be the thing you’re struggling with, the thing you’re trying to achieve but can’t for some reason. This is because there are blocks in your way. In my client’s situation, the blocks were her being distracted.
This clearance took just under an hour and the effects were remarkable.
Here’s what happened…
She realised straight after doing the clearance was what was important on her massive to-do list, and what wasn’t.
Immediately she was able to identify five things that were unnecessary and mere distractions. So she struck them straight off without hesitation. She knew.
She also had unwavering clarity as to what she absolutely needed to do and what to prioritise.
When you have clarity you can push forward much more forcefully than when you don’t.
It’s like driving around in a new city. When you don’t know where you’re going, you drive slowly as you look about checking your new environment as you drive. You’re cautious because you might go down a wrong road, or you might need to turn around, so you take things slowly.
On the other hand, when you know where you’re going, you zip along confidently without hesitation.
The same goes for your mind and your ability to work through and process tasks.
When you are no longer distracted, you can just crack with doing what needs to be done.
Now it’s your turn
If you want to stop getting distracted and get more stuff done, then a god place to start will be to carry out some head trash clearance on
- Getting stuff done
- Being distracted
To get hold of the Head Trash Clearance Method, you can download an easy to use one-pager here. Or you can find read my book Clear Your Head Trash which includes full instructions as well as lots of explanations. If clearing head trash is a priority for you then you best get the book!